Wednesday, July 22, 2015

US Navy shifting its most modern aircraft to the Pacific - 7/21/2015 - Flight Global

US Navy shifting its most modern aircraft to the Pacific - 7/21/2015 - Flight Global: The US Navy will extend its air arm in the Asia-Pacific region over the coming five years with the first deployment of the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned maritime patrol aircraft to Guam in 2017 and an increased presence of other newly developed flying assets like the Boeing P-8A Poseidon and Northrop MQ-8C Fire Scout.

The increased emphasis on the Pacific theatre will also see the latest upgraded Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets deployed to the region, backed by Northrop E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes for airborne command and control and Boeing EA-18G Growlers for standoff electronic attack.

This is according to chief of naval operations Adm Jonathan Greenert’s latest “navigation plan”, which was unveiled 20 July.

The five-page, five-year strategy document comes amid renewed concern by the Pentagon about the potential threat China poses to US interests in the region. It also arrives as Congress finalises its annual defence spending bill, which is likely to spend more money on the military than planned by circumnavigating unpopular automatic spending limits known as sequestration.

According to the navigation plan, the navy aims to replace its aging E-2C Hawkeye with the new and improved D-model at four carrier air wings by 2020, which is around the same time it hopes to retrofit an aerial refuelling capability.